Frequently Asked Questions - Course Development
FAQs about the approval, design, and construction of a disc golf course.
Go to the PDGA Course Directory and enter your zip code or the zip code near the places you plan to visit. The Directory will present you with a list of all courses in the directory in order from closest to farthest from that zip code.
First try to contact the person listed as the contact for that course if that information is available. If you’re certain a correction is needed, use the update procedure available for each course in the directory. If the coordinator doesn’t know you, he will usually try to confirm the correction with the course contact in the region.
The Course area on this website has many documents to help with approving, designing and installing a new course and is located here. Check the Disc Golf Course Designers group to see if any members are located in your area. They can help you through all steps of the process. If there’s no one on that list nearby, do a search of courses near your zip code and contact some of the people listed as contacts for those courses, especially courses in public parks. One of the first steps regardless whether you get additional help is to contact the Park Department that oversees parks in the community. Usually, there’s a master plan that has determined the future plans for park development. That will indicate which parks might be suitable for disc golf and whether the option will even be available. Depending where you live, it’s possible you’ll have different nearby parks managed by up to four different authorities such as city, county, state or federal. So you’ll potentially have to contact up to four different authorities to find out what options and properties may be available for a course.
The initial steps are the same as getting a course approved for a public park. The Course Development area on this website has many documents to help with approving, designing and installing a new course. Check the Disc Golf Course Designers group to see if any members are located in your area. They can help you through all steps of the process. If there’s no one on that list nearby, do a search of courses near your zip code and contact some of the people listed as contacts for those courses. The websites for target manufacturers can not only provide information on their target models, but they have helpful advice on course design and installation. Contact information is available here.
The chart that can help estimate acreage is available here. The very shortest beginner courses may need only half an acre per hole on average. The more wooded the property, the less space is needed because the woods can provide a safe buffer between fairways. Championship courses might need more than one acre per hole but again that can vary based on the amount of woods involved.
We’ll assume the land is available already, but that’s an additional major expense if it’s not. A barebones installation with light duty baskets, natural tees and simple wooden signs and do-it-yourself design (not recommended) can be installed for about $350 per hole. A full service community course with a heavy duty basket, dual cement tee pads, nice dual tee signs and two sleeves for basket placements on each hole could run up to $1000 per hole which includes a basic design fee on a property with little clearing to be done. The design fee could be $2000-$3000 higher if the course requires lots of fairway clearing thru woods and the designer is involved in supervising that process. An added cost might be if the clearing is done by outside hired professionals versus park staff and volunteers. Additional amenities that may be considered would be an information sign board at the start of the course and benches at several or all holes. A very nice course can be installed for $20,000 in most places where not much clearing is required.
Much depends on whether holes are mostly in the open or in the woods. Wooded holes have much higher upfront costs for clearing, depending on who does the work. However, maintenance can be minimal other than occasionally trimming some new growth limbs and possibly spreading wood chips on the fairways every few years. Open holes require some level of regular grass mowing but every 2-3 weeks may be fine. Hard surface tees may need to have dirt or gravel added in front of the tees every year or two to deal with wear. If natural tees are used, then it may be necessary to move them every few years and fill in the worn areas. Some park departments regularly dump wood chips around the baskets every year to reduce the natural wear that occurs from player traffic.
Yes. However, it’s imperative that a professional designer be involved for the design phase so the course is not only suitable for those who will play it but also as safe as possible. A contact list of designers who can help find someone to help if they themselves aren’t able to help directly is available here. Typically, Eagle scouts have been doing something to improve an existing course versus building a course. Some of these improvements might be building several sets of steps to reduce erosion in places with grades, creating and installing tee signs with nice graphics, or building benches for each hole.
Yes. They can be acceptable for the lowest tier competitions. Ideally, the PDGA would prefer that those who produce homemade baskets submit a sample and get them PDGA approved as long as the basket doesn’t violate any current patents. The submission process is here.